September 03, 2005

●Subaru Impreza WRX STi SpecC

New year, new face lift for the rally bred Impreza. But looks like they have finally nailed the design of the front end with a pair of Legacy-ish aggressive headlights and the new family grille. I quite like the result and from the looks it got on the street it seems I'm not the only one.

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Still think the rear end is the weakest point of the car. Looks bland and unappealing and those clear lights for this 2006 model don't do anything for it! Notice Subaru's answer to Mitsubishi's Vortex Generator.
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The car you see here is the light-weight SpecC, or as I would put it the "soft" version of the SpecC with A/C, central locking and power windows. To remind you of your "hardcore-racer" choice you are left without a boot release mechanism and no sun visor for the passenger side. And you can impress all your mates by showing them your cool boot trim...or lack of it!

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Interior is miles better than the Evo 9 with both design and quality of materials, but on this Spec C model you still get some horrible hard plastics here and there. Steering wheel is way to big and seat position way too high. Pedal layout is perfect for heel-&-toe antics while the red dials are easy to read.

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The flat-4 turbo still looks like a washing machine with a motorcycle radiator bolted on top of it, but it's 43kgm of torque is ferociously explosive and feels enormously powerful from 3,000rpm till about 7,000rpm. Revs smoothly and vibration free to 8,000rpm but it's hardly worth going all the way to the redline as power trails off quite dramatically after 6,800 rpm.
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Apart from a few revision of the engine management to liberate that extra torque the suspension geometry has been finely tuned while some additional stiffening added to the front struts. On the road the handling has definitely seen some improvement with a considerable precision added to the front end. Understeer is not as noticeable as in the older cars and the front end has enormous bite, thanks also to the grippy Bridgestone RE070. What I really didn't care for was the massive grip the DCCD allows the rear end to generate. Sure it's safe but it's not fun! Only under full power in first gear can yo get a decent slide going and if you want a bit of sideways action with higher gears then forget about it, only way you can manage it is with a mighty weight transfer flick. What this car needs is a looser back end, something that will allow a bit of adjustability with the throttle when powering on and backing off. Apart from this and the usual steering-kickback on uneven surfaces I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the 2006 Spec C. In fact if I had to make a choice I would pick it over the Evo 9 GT I drove earlier in the year. Now if only they could sort out that rear end!

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Good to see that Japanese manufacturers are bringing their cars into the modern world by not bothering with the silly 180Km/h speed limiter. The Spec C happily pulls 260 km/h.

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You can get a better look at the primary spoiler...
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Posted by dino at September 3, 2005 12:58 AM
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